A junior mechanical engineering student at MSOE has something to sing about: Xikun Han, a Chinese exchange student, was the winner of the Voice of Milwaukee singing competition. The competition, which took place on March 5, was sponsored by the Chinese Student Associations of Marquette University, University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin and MSOE.

Han, who started to sing when he was about 10-years-old, took third place in the contest last year. This year, he earned first. The musical genre Han is most interested in is “new folk,” which involves a lot of storytelling and emotion. Many folk songs can be performed with only a guitar and hand-drum.

“Overall, new folk is more about emotional expression than fancy vocal skills,” he said. Han was accompanied by junior nursing student Shumo Gu on drums and Niu Haotian, sophomore electrical engineering major, on guitar.

The competition took place on March 5 in Marquette University’s Varsity Theater. Chinese Student Associations at the four participating schools chose contestants to represent them in the competition. A week before the event, contestants went head-to-head in auditions to narrow the field. Ten winners were advanced to the March 5 competition. Singers were judged based on vocal skills, song choice, and instrumentation.

“This is actually the first time that I won a first place in singing,” Han said. “It definitely felt awesome!”

MSOE’s Chinese Student Association is planning a music event later in the quarter. Stay tuned for details.